This Is Forty!

Doesn’t everyone climb on furniture in public places? No? …

It’s nearly Memorial Day, so naturally this is an excellent time to talk about my birthday… from 4 months ago! Yes, this post is long overdue, but I’m gonna write it anyway because I hit a milestone this year! And because the festivities were damn fun!

The new year, you may recall, is birthday season – my dad, the Husband, and of course Twinnie and me. The Little wraps up the party season with her own celebratory ideas and a fete fitting her sass and charm. With all these birthdays comes a LOT. OF. CAKE.

Twins Do It Better!

Anyway, as I approach the big 4-0, there are only two things I want: to be with Twinnie on the actual day and a party where I get to wear heels and a party dress. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? …on paper. The reality, on the other hand, was a bit tricky given those two occasions were only 48 hours apart in cities 800 miles apart!

Perhaps I ought to explain why spending our birthday together is a big deal to me. As a twin, I always celebrated my birthday with my other half. We had joint parties, opened our gifts together, picked our cakes together. It wasn’t till college that we ever spent a birthday apart! We instead settled for Twinnie’s early morning phone call when she would blurt out, “Happy birthday, I’m older than you!”

We do big birthdays in NYC!

Skip ahead to when we turned 30 – on a Saturday! For the first time since college we lived near each other (a few hours away is close for us!) So when she said I want to throw a party in New York, I said SIGN ME UP!

Twinnie booked a party room in the 40/40 club in Manhattan – you know, the one owned by Jay Z. No, we didn’t see him that night, but we obviously dubbed it the 30/30 club for the night, invited a bunch of friends (I even had some fly in from Chicago!) to celebrate with us and the whole thing was a blast.

A circular home bar off the kitchen? Yes!!!

A decade later, after a few moves and 4 kids between us, it just isn’t realistic to think that we can be together each year on our birthday. But I turned Twinnie on to the idea of being together at least for the big birthdays – I’m thinking the 0s and 5s. Sounds doable, right?

What a fun place to get ready on my birthday!

In the months approaching our 40th birthday, we quickly settled on meeting in NY again and hitting the very same club! A Thursday birthday, with kids and husbands and jobs to manage certainly made planning a bit trickier, but we got it done! The Husband ran the show at home and I took off for less than 48 hours of birthday-ing.

We covered 4 states in two days!

Ah, but you see, I didn’t adventure alone! Back in December at a Happy Hour brunch, Uncle D decided to book a ticket for Jenn to join me in New York! Wednesday before my birthday, we dropped the kids at school and headed to the airport for a quick girls’ getaway. Hopefully it’s our first of many.

The last hours of my thirties couldn’t have been better. My best friend from college, we’ll call him Banks, picked us up and we spent the afternoon running Dad duty and hanging at the house. No need to go find a cool bar; they have the best home bar I’ve ever seen!

I’m in flip flops. In the Northeast. In JANUARY.

While I would have loved waking up to my own family on my birthday, starting the day with dear friends was a fantastic alternative. Banks woke me so I could see the kids off to school and then we went for coffee. After our leisurely morning of manicures, hanging out and a lot of laughs, Jenn and I hopped a train and headed into Manhattan to meet up with Twinnie.

After a yummy dinner of Korean BBQ, we got ready and headed over to the club, with a few friends in tow. Wow, a decade later and I didn’t even recognize the place! It didn’t hurt that most folks aren’t partying on a Thursday night…. at 9! But champagne and cocktails with my Twinnie and our friends, who even cares who else was there, really?

Bright and early the next day, Jenn and I hustled back to the airport and back home… to more winter and a car stuck in the snow drifts. Thank goodness Jenn is a born and bred New Englander who coached me through getting out of O’Hare safely. That’s important! We had to get home to unpack and get ready for the birthday bash the following night!

That brings us right up to my other birthday wish – a party so I can wear heels and a party dress! The Husband did so well! He hired not one, but two sitters to watch our kids plus Gina’s and then we headed out!

Now that’s an airport bar!

The Hubby did an amazing job fulfilling this birthday wish – he organized a cocktail party at a whiskey bar! Whiskey and high heels and people I love dearly in a beautiful bar, it was just perfect. It was fantastic to see a bunch of my favorite people get dressed up for me.

Our server remembered that I love their blood orange whiskey martini (I’m sorry I don’t have a pic to share here!) and just kept them coming! I even told her my plan to drink water between drinks and she helped me stick to that. My big mistake, though, (other than not eating enough!) was not telling her I wanted to switch to whiskey neat after one cocktail: oops. Hangover city.

My Work Wife!

Honestly, after a few drinks the evening is a blur of hugs and laughs and flitting between groups of my friends. I’m told that as we were preparing to wrap up, the server insisted on one more for the Birthday Girl. Uncle D and the Husband immediately came to my rescue! They stood on either side of me and cleverly asked about my drink. Naturally, I handed it over and they quickly polished off all but the last drops with me none the wiser.

A couple other antics from the night: I toppled sideways into a snowbank when we got back to the house! Pretty much right after that, with Gina’s help, I crawled out of my party clothes and into bed and missed the last bits of the festivities. This included a second birthday cake made by the Husband – and topped with 40 gilded candles!

Apparently this happened… 40 candles, eek!

The following morning, we hosted survivors’ brunch – coffee and monkey bread and more with whoever felt up for it! Well, I sort of made it there – does it count if I curled up under a blanket on the sofa while our friends and kids feasted?

What an incredible birthday week – there’s really no great way to articulate how deeply grateful I am to my friends and family for celebrating with me and for entertaining my birthday wishes and antics!

I was showered with love and gifts – 40’s been good so far!

Reverse Whiskey List

I love whiskey shopping!

Yeah, yeah – I finally got my blog moved over to the new name (thanks Ray!) and I haven’t written a single thing since. I’m sorry!! It’s not that I didn’t want to. I even have a handful of started ideas, but life has been happening at full speed, and nothing I wrote was working. See, I’m one of those writers that has to feel it. When most of these posts are ready, the words flow, things start to click and I’m just going along for the ride.

I even get to look for whiskey at Target!

Being brutally honest, I’m pushing through the hurdle of getting back into it in the hopes that the next post will come to me more organically. I mean, it’s nearly May, does anyone really want to read a post about Christmas, or my big 4-0 back in January? At least in this bit of the country, folks don’t want to think about the winter that wouldn’t end!

Meeting my favorite bourbon – Wild Turkey 101!

For now, instead of agonizing over the half-baked ideas that aren’t ready, let’s go with low-hanging fruit. How about a quick little whiskey recap? It’s been a few years now since I first started liking whiskey – almost to the day! It was 4 years last week when I day-drank Wild Turkey on a madcap solo trip to Chicago. It still amazes me that one day I just turned into a fan of bourbon and even a bit of scotch (straight from the bottle or the flask, mind you!), and still can’t say the same about beer!

I even get to look for whiskey at Target!

There was a time when I had a list of every bourbon I’d had, bought, whatever. It’s so out of date, I don’t even know how to update it. We don’t save many bottles anymore, so a visit to the basement bar won’t help much. It would feel a bit odd to go hang out in the whiskey aisle with a notepad, so maybe we just skip it. This is supposed to be an easy post, right?! So here, a list of the bottles I see on my IG feed that I haven’t tried! I’m sure I’m missing some and I’ll remember them after I hit publish, but here goes:

Some posts are easier than others!
  • Willet – I’ve had the one in the pot still shaped bottle, but I know there’s a wide range of offerings from Willet.
  • Weller – I want to say I’ve had it, but in truth, I’ve probably just seen it so much that my memory is playing tricks on me. Ah my wacky hole-filled mind…
  • Pinhook – never heard of them before last fall and now, I see this bottle all over IG!
  • Belle Meade
  • EH Taylor
  • Bookers
  • Widow Jane
  • Stagg
  • Heaven Hill
  • Old Fitzgerald
  • Anything with Van Winkle, Pappy or Granddad in the name!

Luckily this list isn’t longer because of trying things at bars and always taking the opportunity to sample something at a friend’s if they have something I’ve not tried. Now the big question – what from this list should I try first???

Time for some whiskey!

We’re back! I didn’t quit!

I’m really not a computer person…

If you asked me last November how long I thought it would take to change the name of my blog and start writing as A Whiskey Mama, I would have shrugged casually and replied, ‘Dunno, maybe a week or two?’ What utter nonsense! Here I am, so many months later, feeling rusty, and not really knowing how to get back in the swing of things.

An impulsive trip led to this incredible dinner!

Super long story, short: I naively thought I’d buy the new domain, click a few buttons and that would be it. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

I spent hours scrambling for answers – chat sessions and phone calls with my domain host with wildly different answers. They ranged from free and simple to call this number, it’ll cost about $500. WHAT??

A cocktail usually helps with this blogging stuff!

I was so frustrated I was on the verge of angry tears. I considered quitting. I even toyed with the painful thought of starting fresh and losing the previous work I had done.

What a relief when Alvin, a whiskey friend said he could send me instructions. He said watch the video first and I’ll be all set.

Family stuff had me traveling East four times in three months!

Yay!! I enjoyed a blissful week or two of feeling capable. HAH, nope! I got a few steps in, and then f**k, I stalled out. I hit a wall and just could not figure out this hurdle! With holiday season in full swing, I confess that fixing the blog slid down the to do list and then off the radar altogether.

Took a blog time out to host the holidays and grab a drink at beautiful Hotel Allegro

Fast forward through the holidays and birthday month (I better write about that soon!) and a few weeks ago I was at an event for Savalina Sweets. Think cocktails, capoeira dancers and my cookies! Plus, I got to see a new photographer friend, Ray.

I met Ray back in the fall at another event and we just clicked. Anyway, we started messaging a bit, and before long, she said those magic words, ‘I know how to do that!’ And just like that, Migrate Day popped onto the calendar!

Bubbles and bourbon (in flasks) – mainstays of this blog!

Bonus – I finally had a reason to plan my first city work day in months. With Ray working downtown, it only made sense to meet up nearby for Migrate Day.  So a couple weeks ago, Ray and I met up at my second office – Hotel Allegro. Really, where else would I take a photographer but a beautiful lobby where every space is photo ready!

Someone find me a website for this GENIUS product!!

I really got the better end of the deal – Ray and I got to hang out and chatted like school girls while she worked her website magic. A little lunch and a couple cocktails later, the blog was up and running! I cannot describe the feeling when Ray assured me this was an easy fix. I felt excited to blog for the first time in months! And now I’m back!

I’m one of those ‘things happen for a reason’ kind of people. Maybe it’s in my head or maybe it’s real, but I do feel like many of the people you meet are there for a reason. I feel that way about Ray! We have this immediate connection and working together on the blog just fell together. What’s more, she wants to collaborate on some photos for my business. Am I lucky or what?

Blog or not, there’s almost always time for Happy Hour drinks!

Oh yeah, she thinks it’s hilarious that I drink whiskey and bourbon! So of course I made her taste some – check out my Instagram stories for footage.

Now that I’m back – what stories do you want to hear? Birthday shenanigans? More state bourbons? Send me your ideas!!